Manise Volel is a smart young woman from the town of Capotille in the Nord-Est department of Haiti who is pursuing her high school diploma. The 22-year-old used to walk over a mile and a half to access water, and then walk another 1.5 miles back with a heavy jerry can in tow. Despite her best efforts, often the water source that she used would not provide enough for everyone in her family. Additionally, this region has been devastated by drought for years, so she has also been forced to collect rainwater. She admitted, “Even if our community had water, there wasn’t always enough, so that’s why I collected rainwater. I know that it is dangerous to drink water that has spilled on dirty surfaces, and the containers also become dirty and muddy in the event of prolonged rains, but I had no other choice.”
Manise’s family is not alone; many families in her region only have access to unprotected and contaminated water. This of course makes them vulnerable to water-borne diseases. To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for clean water to prevent infections, while making it harder to get supplies for some isolated and vulnerable communities.
Fortunately, her community received a drinking water well from Haiti Outreach in January, 2021. Haiti Outreach inaugurated this well with the support of DINEPA and its other partners to improve water supply and sanitation services. This new system not only benefits Manise’s family, but also the surrounding communities. Manise says children in her community now have access to clean water to drink, bathe, and wash their hands to protect against COVID-19 and decrease the spread of the virus.
“Now that we have a drinking water point closer to home,” she continues, “fewer children get sick, we have more water to irrigate our gardens, and we have a better chance of not catching water-borne illnesses.” Elated at this new innovation in her community, Manise exclaimed, “Haiti Outreach contributes immensely to reducing poverty by [hiring Haitian employees] and improving living conditions through sanitation, hygiene, and drinking water supply. We are very lucky to have their support!”